July 2009

July 30, 2009

Steep slope, hot sun, and one giant rib

RUSINGA ISLAND, Kenya | We’ve been in camp almost three weeks now, and it’s been a terrific season. We’ve found over 800 identifiable fossils, and more come in every day. We also have thousands of scrappy pieces that are being kept for later laboratory work. One aspect of the sites that we’re focusing on is […]

July 28, 2009

Nothing to lose, everything to find

RUSINGA ISLAND, Kenya |Today’s guest blog comes from Julia Zichello, a doctoral student at Hunter College: I’m a second-year PhD student in biological anthropology, focusing on primate genetics. Quite frankly, I don’t get out of the lab much, and this is my first field-work experience. This summer I am very fortunate to be a part […]

July 17, 2009

Royal support for the reef

I’ve arrived back in NYC and Baruch College for two quick days to store coral samples at -80C. Perfect timing: I’ve just gotten word that I’ve received funding from the National Science Foundation to examine these corals and others that I collected on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. They have been shivering in cyrogenic storage at […]

July 12, 2009

The Deepest Dive

LITTLE CAYMAN, Cayman Islands | We’re in deep water down here, but more about that in a minute. First, a little about an exploration in shallower depths. One of the missions of this trip is to develop a technique to measure and assess what we call coral recruitment–how new colonies of coral are established, how […]

July 10, 2009

Room With a Boat

REYKJAVIK, Iceland | Well, the boat finally showed up. After its useless trip to the Arctic, we’re leaving nothing to chance. We’re keeping the boat with us in our hotel room. Tomorrow we fly to Ilulissat, Greenland. We were supposed to go hiking on a glacier today but I only arrived this morning instead of […]

July 8, 2009

In camp

RUSINGA ISLAND, Kenya | Phew! After a few days in Nairobi and a very long drive west, we’ve finally arrived at our camp. An advance team had already driven out to set up camp and make arrangements with the local authorities. Preparing for our arrival, they worked on preliminary mapping and geology for our expedition. […]

July 3, 2009

Lost in Transit

In preparation for our expedition, we shipped 300 pounds of equipment in six crates. We were very nervous losing control of the equipment, and as it turned out our anxiety was well-founded. Five of the six boxes made it safely to Ilulissat. The missing shipment was a large wooden cratebox containing one of the most […]

July 3, 2009

18 Million Years Later, an Expedition to East Africa

RUSINGA ISLAND, Kenya | Searching for our fossil ancestors is an esoteric business, but it also elicits a disproportionately wide degree of attention in the popular press. Maybe this is because knowing where we came from (and how we got here!) is one of those fundamental questions people like to ask. Quiz the average person […]

July 1, 2009

The Bloody Bay Wall

LITTLE CAYMAN, Cayman Islands | One of the most prominent underwater features of Little Cayman is the Bloody Bay Wall—a sheer cliff that begins just off the northern part of the island in 18 feet of water and plummets thousands of feet into the abyssal Cayman Trench. According to island legend, the wall is named […]